Friday, June 12, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again

No, it's not time to shave my legs yet. We still haven't hit 85* in Indiana, for Pete's sake.

I'm talking about Dance Recital Time.

Yes, every June, little and bigger girls all across the nation get their moment to shine after all of the weeks that moms and dads have carted them to and fro the dance class, trying to remember what to bring and how to get in and out of the congested parking lot without hitting their kid's classmate who's running like a banshee between cars, and where is the banshee's mom, anyway?

I have two daughters who have danced most of their lives. It started years ago with praise dance taught by one of our associate pastor's wives at our church. I cannot describe for you the sweetness of this era.

Soon we moved on to a studio with actual mirrors and noncarpeted floors. And costumes.

And ... recitals.

Oh, it was a new era. Or should I say a new "eon" because that's how long these things last. You begin the recital during the Carboniferous Period and come out to the parking lot and lo and behold: you're in the Triassic Period.

There are some constants, like the eternal duration, that you can count on at each recital:

  • Red lipstick and blue eye shadow for the stage. Scary on 9 year-olds. Or really, on anyone, for that matter, except maybe Courtney Love who would just look plain without it.
  • The "baby" dancers sandwiched between older, edgy dancers. This year, there are baby tap dancers shuffling to "Mr. Sandman." Mr. Sandman, in this case, is an actual boy dancer, very focused and stoic. He's a serious five year-old Sandman who looks like he could put you out "night-night" for good if you gave him any guff about his sparkly costume.
  • Lyrical dances that you can't figure out. I remember when Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties did his "interpretive dance." All of these dances remind me of Alex. I don't get why they always involve one dancer offering another dancer something, like a rose, and the second one declines the offering, and they both wilt and crawl off stage.
  • The weird stage exit. You do not just walk off after your dance is done. You either 1) Walk off waving if you're cute and little 2) Do the side step, crossover, drag your foot off the stage sideways move. Very natural looking, of course.
  • The glitch. At some point, the music will mess up and the dance will have to begin again. This adds another era to the eons that you're in the auditorium.
  • The cryer. Someone will inevitably look like she's never been in a dance class before in her life and cannot figure out why she has been put in a strange costume and pushed on stage. Of course, she has been in class for months and has begged to wear the costume at home to play in, but this stage thing? She's not down with it.
  • Funky Hip Hop. The goal of this is to look edgy and p.o.'d, I think. They generally wear black and camo costumes with rips and bandanas, but the funny thing is, no one looks the part. They all look like Hoosier Future Farmers of America wearing hoe-down scarves doing the "pop-n-lock" or something like that. But this is my second daughter's style of choice.
  • The costume glitch. Someone's hair piece will fall off or over her face. If she is little, this will cause a meltdown. If she's older, she will think everyone focused on that one mishap the entire evening and will be seen crying in the lobby afterwards.
  • The flowers. Many dancers receive small bouquets after the recital. Some bad parents forget to get their kid a bouquet every year and try to hurry them out and buy them a Taco Bell Fruitista Freeze to make up for it. Not that I know that from personal experience.
  • And then there's the stand-out: the one who clearly outshines all the rest in whatever dance he/she is in. Her talent is God-given. Her grace is that of a professional. Her artistry is moving. The total effect of this one child on stage? Rapturous. To the parents, that is. Because every parent or grandparent is lasering in on that one child up there around whom their world revolves. Finally, finally, everyone will get to see how great their kid is. Except that everyone else is, of course, watching his or her own stand-out.

Let's face it. That's why we have the recitals--to spotlight the greatest kid who has worked so hard all year long, of course! This is her 15 minutes eon of fame and glory!


Darla said...

i actually went to my first recital the other night that was'nt for my own girls. it was quite enjoyable to watch the dance as a whole. i was so relaxed too. i had never done that before without watching that ONE stand out!

a Tonggu Momma said...

The Tongginator's dance recital is on Saturday. I'm just hoping she doesn't repeat her performance from the dress rehearsal. Because at the dress rehearsal? She picked her nose on stage. Oh yes, she did. Heh.

Rachel said...

I laughed and laughed and laughed.

I actually miss those days. Only we didn't have recitals, we had actual performance seasons - Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella in the spring, and Nutcracker and Coppelia at Christmas. It was heavenly being part of the whole stage experience!

Ultimately, my 8 years with the ballet company turned into a dance ministry. I miss it, though I don't miss the nerves! :) And I'm sure they're glad I'm not out there dancing those classic arm motions with that ugly bump on my wrist right now, LOL.

Sorry, I'm writing a blog in your comment... thanks for the laughs - you were spot on! :)

Dena said...

I grew up putting my parents through the never-ending recitals, and I was actually sad when after just two years, my 6 yr old daughters decided that dance was not for them. Then in high school they joined the school dance team. It was great - no long recitals and I got to watch one dance every other week at a game. Loved it.

Oh, and I agree about the hip-hop. My girls definitely have the FFAer in camo look down pat.

Congratulations Kristen!

Kim said...

Congrats to Kristin! And to you for sitting through another interminable recital. One day, when she's a parent herself, she'll appreciate the full measure of your sacrifice :-)

I'm thinking I need to be thankful that my daughter bailed out of her first dance class half-way through the semester. I think I'll go send her a thank you right now!

As it is we sat through one gymnastics recital which sounds horrifyingly similar. *shudder*

Susanne said...

Around here the '70's warrant the shaver coming out into action.

Congrats Kristen. You make your mama proud!

Mrs. E said...

Oh, you brought back the memories! And even 15 years out from my last dance recital-- sounds like not a lot has changed! You hit the nail right on the head. (And what is with the blue eye shadow thing anyway?!)

2Thinks said...

Hats off to Kristin! I danced 13 years of my life, about age 7 through high school- ballet, tap, jazz, acrobatics. One year in college of ballet and tap. Many, many recitals. You are right on in your descriptions here!

Now. I attend my nieces recitals. They have the same ballet teacher I had in junior high! She is in her mid-70's and can do the splits and a cartwheel, still! Just saw her do this for real a couple of years ago at one of the recitals. I'm telling ya, it was worth the wait to see her do that at the end of the show. Showstopper.

Tried to get I.T.-ologist to take ballroom one year, too. Didn't go so well.


Debbie said...

Ha! Ha! Ha! I laughed until I cried. That is EXACTLY how recitals go. I was the "bad" parent who didn't know about the flower presentation afterwards. My Kristen got a bundle of soft candy canes...just because her grandma was there and that's the only thing she had in her purse. We took her to her favorite place to eat. She was 3 so she was OK with it. I don't think my scars have quite healed from it, though! Congratulations to your Kristin!!!

Greg C said...

I am sooooo glad that I have boys. They just need a pile of sand and a few kitties to hide treasures in it and there you have it....Instant happiness.

Mocha with Linda said...

Love this. Makes me glad we don't do dance.

We agonize through piano recitals when the child's fingers hover desperately trying to remember the next note.

Congrats to Kristen!!

(Don't forget the flowers, Mom!)

bethj said...

I love your blog design and really like your blog. It's interesting and very funny, and you have good pics. Looking forward to reading more.

Melli said...

LOL! Our little Luz just had her very first recital this Spring - and OF COURSE she was the stand-out! TO US she was! (she was also the only child in the entire recital to have a solo performance - but at 4 that would not make her a "stand-out" - merely adorable!) They DO go on for eons... but oh, they are SO worth it! To watch your very own little standout STAND OUT! (you're right for sure about the makeup being scary! At 9? Even MORE scary at 4!) But she loved every minute! And especially the makeup!!! Your Kristin looks verrrrrry EDGEY! I'm sure she was SPECTACULAR!!!

Greetings from Guatemala said...

enjoyed visiting your blog!

skoots1mom said...

my poor mother endured my "early trumpet years" home at in concert. don't know how she did it...trumpet learnin' ain't pretty

just for fun:

have a great weekend.

Debbie @Like a Rose said...

Wow, reading that list took me back to all of my older sister's recitals. Things really don't change - her last one would have been about 36 years ago - all those things happened. I'd forgotten the "cross-over, foot drag" exit! Ha!

p.s. You might get a kick out my Saturday Photo Hunt Post...

Lisa said...

How timely! My niece was in a recital this afternoon. 3.5 hours later...what in the world??

BUT, I do know how hard the dancers work and its fun to see the sense of accomplishment of their faces.